Tag Archives: Fernando Gonzalez

Champions For Chile Raise $125K for Relief Efforts.

Since the “Champions For Chile” benefit match was not televised or streamed, a lot of people have been searching for the highlight reel.

The match featuring Andy Roddick, Fernando Gonzalez, Jim Courier and Gustavo Kuerten raised $125,000 for relief efforts in Chile which continues to suffer from the massive earthquake that hit there last month.

Click here to watch the video highlights.

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ATP Crystal Ball for 2010.

2010 will be a transition year for the ATP Tour even though the winners may look the same. Here are my predictions for the ATP men again ranked where I think they will end up at year’s end.

1. Roger Federer. To think that “Fed” won’t win another Slam or two next year is highly unlikely. Federer’s consistency week in and week out will help keep his top ranking intact. But this could be his last year of total domination. The real question for Federer, especially after winning the French Open, is what will motivate him to keep going after winning everything. Maybe a chance at a true Grand Slam?

2. Juan Martin Del Potro. That’s right. The big man from Argentina will be chasing Federer all year. Injuries and still a nagging lack of belief could hinder him but I expect Delpo to win another Slam. Could the French be next?

3. Novak Djokovic. The “Falcon” has returned with the fire and belief that was lost for most of 2009. He could win a Slam but he’ll have to keep up the balancing act between being “the class clown” and his intensity which rubs some fans the wrong way. Look for him to come into Australia with a vengeance.

4. Rafael Nadal. I know. I know. The Nadal fans are going to attack me for this but I believe that the Nadal “mystique” is over and the top guys on tour have finally figured out how to play him. I like him in the French for sure but how his body holds up will be the story next year.

5. Andy Murray. I don’t understand the obsession with Murray. He’s a talented player but it’s been proven if you attack him ala Marin Cilic, Roger Federer you will win. His mental toughness is still an issue and he needs a big shot to help him win cheap points. I’m still not convinced Murray has the game to win a Slam. He’ll get close, maybe even a final, but I doubt he’ll win one next year.

6. Nikolay Davydenko. Is this the year the hardest working man on tour finally wins a Slam? Maybe. He certainly proved in Shanghai and the ATP Finals that he can beat anyone especially with his improved serve and net play. But how he holds up in best 3 of 5 matches is the real question. Plus, will fans finally get behind the “unsexy” Russian? I like his chances in Australia better than anywhere else.

7. Andy Roddick. As the ’09 Wimbledon final was a defining match for Roddick, I feel like 2010 is the last hope for him to win one more Slam. He’s in great shape more or less (unless the knee becomes a bigger issue) and coach Larry Stefanki has got him playing better, but if he’s going to do it, this is it. Maybe the U.S. Open?

8. Robin Soderling The lanky Swede proved his French Open runner-up spot was no fluke as he continued his strong play late in the season. He certainly believes he can beat the top players, but does he have the game to prevail in the later stages, especially against Federer? He might get close this year at the Slams but I don’t see him breaking through yet.

9 through 15. Take your pick. Tsonga, Verdasco, Gonzalez, Simon, Monfils, Haas. All these guys have gotten close but no cigar. 2010 could be their “this is it” moment to finally breakthrough. But don’t count on it. Anyone of them could make a Slam final but Jelena Jankovic has more chances than these guys.

Wildcards – Sam Querrey. Querrey certainly had a decent 2009 and I can see him getting into the top 15 but winning a Slam feels out of reach.

Marin Cilic – Could the super tall Croat have a Del Potro like year and finally break into the top 10? Watch out for him at Wimbledon where his big serve and volley game should pay dividends.

Lleyton Hewitt – With his health restored, Hewitt finds himself back in the top 20 again. Can he finally win the Australian Open? Sure, if Federer gets knocked out early.

Richard Gasquet – Now that he’s back on tour, 2010 will be the year when we find out if he has what it takes to get back into the top 10 or just be the punchline to one of the more bizarre storylines of 2009.

James Blake – For all the talent, Blake has never lived up to his potential. Something could happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 2010 is his last year.

John Isner – He’s got the big serve and had a breakthrough win against Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open but he needs a bigger game overall if wants to even crack into the top 20.

David Nalbandian – He finally returns after enduring hip surgery. But has the highly talented Argentine been eclipsed by the younger Del Potro?

Plenty of other players I could mention as well with their own chances at glory next year. Let me know what you think!

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Davydenko’s In, Verdasco is TBD.

Of course the BNP Paribas Masters event in Paris kept the drama going after yesterday’s emotional day. Plenty of losses but not as shocking as Federer’s early exit.

Nikolay Davydenko lost a tough three setter to Robin Soderling who keeps his chances alive for a ticket to London. Davydenko backed into his slot when Fernandao Verdasco lost to Marin Cilic. Now Verdasco really is on the bubble as Jo-Wilifred Tsonga is also in the mix along with Soderling though both would have to get to the final and/or win the whole thing to qualify.

But Peter Bodo at Tennis.com summed things up rather well by again pointing out that, except for die hard tennis fans, this end of the year race and the ATP finale is, like the WTA Finale at Doha, a big “whatever” to most casual tennis fans as they probably think the season ended back in New York.

I’m not sure what the ATP can do to make things more interesting other than shorten the year and hope people stay along for the ride. At least they got smart and moved their finale to London. At least the place will be packed to see Andy Murray try and win another “major”.

What do you think?

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“Bubble Boys” on Road to London Finale.

Quick update on the race among the ATP men to qualify for the Barclays ATP Finals in London. Even with his semifinal loss in Valencia, Nikolay Davydenko is all but assured of qualifying for the seventh spot. His closest rival, Fernando Verdasco, also lost in the Valenica semis so he’ll have to win a few rounds in Paris this week just to make sure he’s in.

The other “bubble boys” chasing them include Robin Soderling, Jo-Wilifred Tsonga and Fernando Gonzalez who will need to get the Paris finals to go past Davydenko and Gonzalez while Radek Stepanek and Marin Cilic will need to not only win Paris, but have Verdasco lose first round just to maybe qualify. Good luck with that.

Gilles Simon and Tommy Robredo who lost early in Basel are out of contention.

Click here for the full points breakdown.

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Roddick Locks in Spot for London Finale.

Despite having not won a singles match since his second round at the U.S. Open, Andy Roddick earned the sixth spot for the Barclays ATP Finale in London today.

“The reaction I received from fans after the Wimbledon final was something I will never forget. I’ve always had great support in London and I’m looking forward to being back there in November. I’m sure it will be a fantastic event,” said Roddick.

Though he had to pull out of Shanghai with a bad knee, Roddick’s London chances were helped immensely by early round losses in Shanghai by Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonazlez and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga who are still chasing the final spot.

I say “final” because with his Shanghai win and upcoming schedule, Nikolay Davydenko is all but assured of claiming the seventh spot for London.

Who do you think will claim the final spot for London?

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Tsonga Crashes as Nadal/Djokovic Cruise in Shanghai.

Maybe Andy Roddick was right after all?

Two more players retired yesterday at the Shanghai Masters event upping it to seven total. Stanislas Wawrinka retired due to stomach pain in his match against Radek Stepanek while Gael Monfils had a bad back in his match with Ivan Ljubicic.

Meanwhile, Jo-Wilifried Tsonga crashed out in the third round by losing 6-3, 6-3 to Robin Soderling. In the first set, Tsonga had a break point at 3-4 and hit what looked like a winning down the line backhand. But it was called out by the linesmen.

Tsonga didn’t hear the call or score and proceeded to win the next point. He thought he’d won the game but when the umpire called deuce it was only then Tsonga realized he’d lost the previous point. He claimed the umpire didn’t allow him a chance to challenge but it was actually Tsonga’s fault for not paying attention. By the way, an unofficial computer review showed the ball was in.

Tsonga never really got over that call and sulked his way through the rest of the match. But all credit to Soderling who served very well, including three aces in the final game. Soderling looks very good going into his quarterfinal match against Feliciano Lopez and I would make him the darkhorse to win the whole thing.

In other matches, Nikolay Davydenko kept his lock on Fernando Gonzalez by winning 6-3, 7-5 improving to 6-0 lifetime against the Chilean. Also Rafael Nadal won easily over countryman Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-4 while Novak Djokovic eased past Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 6-2.

Getting back to Roddick, with the early round losses of Fernando Verdasco, Gonzalez, and Tsonga, it looks like Roddick will qualify as soon as next week for the ATP finals in London.

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Shangahi Masters Preview.

Since early round play in the ATP Shanghai Masters 1000 event has kicked off, I will do a very quick preview.

Obviously the main interest will be who will qualify next for London but I think whoever wins Shanghai will get a much needed boost into 2010.

Andy Roddick just needs to win a round or two to qualify for London but that won’t be easy. His first match will either be against Lukasz Kubot who took him out in Beijing or Stanislas Wawrinka who as we all know can beat anybody or lose to anybody depending on his mood. If Roddick survives that, he could potentially face either Fernando Gonzalez or Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters and I like Roddick against either of those guys.

Novak Djokovic in his section could face Tommy Haas early and then find himself up against Gilles Simon or Marin Cilic in the quarters. But Djokovic feeds off confidence and I see him getting through his section and facing Roddick in the semis where I actually like Djokovic in that one.

Fernando Verdasco and Gael Monfils must do well in Shanghai if they want to qualify for London. They are both in Nadal’s section and I like their chances of maybe getting through to the semis as Nadal still looks shaky to me.

On the bottom draw is Juan Marin Del Potro who could face off against Jo-Wilifred Tsonga in the quarters. Del Potro should be well rested after getting bounced first round in Tokyo. Tsonga needs another strong event but I can’t seem him winning two titles back to back.

So for the semis, I’m going with Roddick/Djokovic in one and Verdasco/Del Portro in the other potentially setting up a Djokovic/Del Porto final. But of course it’s the end of the year so maybe John Isner will use his new muay thai skills to blow everybody away.

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